Sunday, October 28, 2012

dying well

All these years in Canada, the one thing I have not gotten used to is Halloween. Nothing in my upbringing and experience prior to Canada has prepared me for the ritual of dressing up as ghouls (or worse, skanky whore fairies) and threatening people in exchange for candy, and every year, I get anxious around Halloween. But recently I discovered the Night of All Souls at Mountainview Cemetery, a festival of sorts, I suppose. It is my antidote to Halloween. One wanders in the dark cemetery, looking for candle-lit makeshift shrines that have been set up all over the cemetery. Along the way, we peer at gravestones and cry for strangers. When we get to the shrines, there are often musicians playing, sometimes someone reading poetry. 

Last night, I discovered death haikus: haikus written by poets on the verge of death. 

An example from Basho:
On a journey, ill; 
my dream goes wandering
over withered fields. 

It occurred to me, that a good death is one that would allow me the moment to compose a death dance. 

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